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Public Inquiry
Interested in maladministration. Estd. 2005

offsite link Youth power – Don’t ask – Take

offsite link When the establishment betrays the people?s trust Anthony

offsite link The day Eoghan Harris went bad Anthony

offsite link Declining standards in Irish journalism Anthony

offsite link Mainstream media: Failing to speak truth to power Anthony

Public Inquiry >>

Human Rights in Ireland
A Blog About Human Rights

offsite link 5 Year Anniversary Of Kem Ley?s Death Sun Jul 11, 2021 12:34 | Human Rights

offsite link Poor Living Conditions for Migrants in Southern Italy Mon Jan 18, 2021 10:14 | Human Rights

offsite link Right to Water Mon Aug 03, 2020 19:13 | Human Rights

offsite link Human Rights Fri Mar 20, 2020 16:33 | Human Rights

offsite link Turkish President Calls On Greece To Comply With Human Rights on Syrian Refugee Issues Wed Mar 04, 2020 17:58 | Human Rights

Human Rights in Ireland >>

Lockdown Skeptics

The Daily Sceptic

offsite link University Union Calls for Full Vaccination of All Students by September and Continuation of Mask-We... Fri Jul 23, 2021 12:47 | Michael Curzon
The University and College Union, still unconvinced that it is safe for university life to return to normal, demands that all students are fully vaccinated by September and that mask mandates continue on campuses.
The post University Union Calls for Full Vaccination of All Students by September and Continuation of Mask-Wearing on Campus appeared first on The Daily Sceptic.

offsite link Only 1.6% of Schoolchildren Forced to Self-Isolate For 10 Days Went on to Develop Covid Fri Jul 23, 2021 11:20 | Toby Young
A new study out of Oxford has found that of the one million schoolchildren sent home and forced to self-isolate for 10 days every week last term, 98.4% did not go on to develop Covid. Totally unnecessary in other words.
The post Only 1.6% of Schoolchildren Forced to Self-Isolate For 10 Days Went on to Develop Covid appeared first on The Daily Sceptic.

offsite link Domestic Holiday Industry Hit by Staff Shortages at Start of Crucial Season Fri Jul 23, 2021 11:02 | Michael Curzon
The domestic holiday industry was relying on this crucial summer season to make up for losses from the past year. But hotels, theatres and cafes are being forced to close due to staff shortages caused by the "pingdemic".
The post Domestic Holiday Industry Hit by Staff Shortages at Start of Crucial Season appeared first on The Daily Sceptic.

offsite link Why is This Government so Wedded to the Ruinously Expensive and Completely Useless Test and Trace Pr... Fri Jul 23, 2021 10:55 | Toby Young
We're publishing a guest post on the Daily Sceptic by David McGrogan, Associate Professor of Law at Northumbria Law School, about why Boris has spent 37b on the useless Test and Trace programme. Answer? Vanity and hubris.
The post Why is This Government so Wedded to the Ruinously Expensive and Completely Useless Test and Trace Programme? appeared first on The Daily Sceptic.

offsite link News Round-Up Fri Jul 23, 2021 01:51 | Toby Young
A summary of all the most interesting stories that have appeared about the virus in the past 24 hours ? not just in Britain, but around the world.
The post News Round-Up appeared first on The Daily Sceptic.

Lockdown Skeptics >>

Voltaire Network
Voltaire, international edition

offsite link France, against its adversaries and its allies, by Thierry Meyssan Thu Jul 22, 2021 11:36 | en

offsite link From false accusations to the real massacre, by Thierry Meyssan Wed Jul 21, 2021 09:39 | en

offsite link The nuclear race accelerates, by Manlio Dinucci Mon Jul 19, 2021 10:21 | en

offsite link Turkey sending jihadists from Idlib to Afghanistan Mon Jul 12, 2021 10:32 | en

offsite link Japan to side with Taiwan over China Thu Jul 08, 2021 08:37 | en

Voltaire Network >>

Riley Waggaman - Sat Jul 24, 2021 16:21

 

Every American knows and cherishes Dr. Anthony Fauci. He’s the kind man on television who issues daily instructions about what must be done to prevent immediate death everywhere: Toddlers should be ‘double-diapered’ to ensure that nothing unsanitary comes out of their mouth-holes, etc. etc.

As director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the chief medical advisor to the president, Fauci has used his remarkable administrative capabilities to funnel vast sums of taxpayer dollars into programs and initiatives that have shielded the public from the flu-like horrors of coronavirus. 

But has he always possessed such superhuman pandemic-response skills? Let us briefly survey his distinguished career as Chief Virus Fighter to see if we might be able to answer this serpentine riddle. 

Fifteen years ago, Fauci was summoned by the media to explain what the United States was going to do about the ‘bird flu’ crisis. What was bird flu? It was one of the worst potential pandemics in human history, with the World Health Organization projecting 7.4 million deaths globally as a “best-case scenario”. (They were close: Over a period of two years, around 150 people died from the scary flu strain, but that figure doesn’t include the innumerable Vietnamese farmers who starved to death after millions of their chickens were forcibly culled by health authorities.)

Everyone was understandably worried but luckily Fauci had a solution: Let’s load up on Tamiflu. Developed by Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche, the antiviral drug was widely hailed for its life-saving properties after it was credited with successfully quelling a bird flu outbreak among Dutch farmers in 2003. 

During an appearance on C-SPAN in October 2005, Fauci claimed that the United States was “as prepared or better prepared than any other country” to deal with the impending mass casualty event, although he stressed that America’s survival would depend on more than just Tamiflu. 

“Vaccines, Tamiflu, public health measures, surveillance capabilities – things like that,” Fauci said, explaining what would be used to beat back the avian plague once it reached America’s shores.

He also elaborated on the health benefits of Roche’s wonder drug, claiming that it could "decrease the number of days of symptoms of the standard seasonal flu." If taken regularly as a prophylaxis, Tamiflu could even prevent infection, Fauci claimed. 

While acknowledging that there was no conclusive data showing that Tamiflu was effective against bird flu, Fauci stated that “we assume it will work” and that “there’s a reasonable assumption that it will work.”

Curiously, Fauci was less optimistic about Tamiflu’s bird flu-fighting powers when he was called to testify before the House Committee on International Relations just three months later, in January 2006. 

As NPR reported at the time, he still supported stockpiling enormous amounts of Tamiflu – in fact, Fauci wanted enough pills to be able to medicate 25% of the country’s population. But, probably as a minor legal formality, he didn’t want lawmakers to get the wrong idea and view the drug as a silver bullet. 

“We have no hard scientific data of how well this antiviral will perform under the conditions of a pandemic,” he told Congress, adding: "What this antiviral does is diminish the duration of symptoms by approximately a day and a half.”

(As a quick aside: The NPR article also quoted Dr. Frederick Hayden of the University of Virginia School of Medicine, who insisted that Tamiflu “can provide a great deal of benefit” if given to patients before they develop severe flu symptoms. Although the article doesn’t mention it, Hayden was a paid consultant for Roche until at least 2004. NPR has the best expert commentaries.)

Fast-foward to April 2009: In response to the “public health emergency” created by an outbreak of H1N1 ‘swine flu’, the US Food and Drug Administration issued an Emergency Use Authorization for Tamiflu. Maybe you have heard of EUAs? They have become very trendy in the last year or so. 

Anyway, Roche received emergency approval to manufacture Tamiflu to “treat and prevent influenza in children under 1 year of age,” while GlaxoSmithKline was charged with pumping out a Tamiflu variant designed for adult consumption. 

On April 29 two days after Tamiflu’s EUA was issued Fauci once again graced Congress with his presence, this time testifying before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. When asked to provide an update on America’s pricey treasure chest of Tamiflu, and whether it would be useful in defeating the new Swine Menace, Fauci said: “Thankfully, the currently circulating 2009 H1N1 flu virus is sensitive to the two major antiviral drugs in our Strategic National Stockpile, Tamiflu and Relenza [the name for ‘adult’ Tamiflu].”

In layman’s terms: Fauci told the US Senate that Tamiflu was still a powerful weapon in America’s anti-pandemic arsenal.

Fauci was insistent. In August 2009, he said that Tamiflu had proven benefits when battling influenza, and urged its use among high-risk groups, particularly infants and pregnant women:

This was just four months after Fauci briefed the Senate. But by then his Tamiflu narrative was already spiraling the sewage drain. 

It was really bad. So bad that the FDA directed Roche to state on the drug’s label: “Tamiflu has not been proven to have a positive impact on the potential consequences (such as hospitalizations, mortality, or economic impact) of seasonal, avian, or pandemic influenza.” 

The FDA explained that clinical trials for Tamiflu “failed to demonstrate any significant difference in rates of hospitalization, complications, or mortality in patients receiving either Tamiflu or placebo.”

It wasn’t that Tamiflu was just borderline useless: There were also concerns, made public by the FDA, that the drug may be linked to potentially fatal heart problems. 

This is not really what you want to hear after spending $1.5 billion stockpiling Tamiflu over the past four years as part of the country’s pandemic preparedness plan. 

Does the Tamiflu Tale end here, with transparent fraud and heart failure? Nein. Things became discernably more embarrassing as reality caught up with Fauci’s “antiviral” pill-peddling.

The Cochrane Collaboration, a globally-respected independent medical research organization, revealed in 2014 that there was little or no evidence that Tamiflu was effective against influenza. For half a decade, Roche had hidden clinical trial data from the public. But once this information was reluctantly handed over, their miracle drug was exposed as snake oil.

It was bad

Tamiflu (the antiviral drug oseltamivir) shortens symptoms of influenza by half a day, but there is no good evidence to support claims that it reduces admissions to hospital or complications of influenza.

$1.5 billion for a pill that curtails symptoms by a whole 12 hours. That's more than 100% less effective than Fauci's already-underwhelming claim that Tamiflu reduces the length of flu symptoms by a whopping "day and a half.”

A year later, an article published by Fauci’s own National Institutes of Health (NIH) described Tamiflu’s fall from grace as a “fiasco” and urged for a return to evidence-based public health policy:

A cocktail of pandemic panic, publicity propaganda, and scientific misconduct turned a new medicine with only modest efficacy into a blockbuster. It appears that the multiple regulatory checks and balances gave way as science lost its primacy and pharmaceutical enterprise lost no time in making the most of it.

How did Fauci respond to these troubling developments? He covered his ears and screamed REEEE. 

Speaking on C-SPAN in January 2018, America’s favorite doctor regurgitated his demonstrably false and depraved talking points about Tamiflu:

Even though it isn’t the perfect medication, it can really mitigate and prevent you from going on to more serious complications. So if you have the flu, and you get Tamiflu, you could prevent getting a serious complication, like a decrease of the hospitalization, decrease in dead. So there are benefits, even though it isn’t the perfect antiviral. 

So Tamiflu went from reducing the length of symptoms by less than two days, to bringing people back from the dead? And he said this in 2018 – years after Tamiflu was exposed as basically useless, and perhaps even dangerous.

Hilariously, Fauci made these completely evidence-starved remarks six months after the World Health Organization quietly removed Tamiflu from its “core” medicines list for combatting influenza. 

Which brings us to the present day. 

Fauci is now synonymous with Science. But what happened to Tamiflu? Roche is currently being sued for $1.5 billion for defrauding the US government by misrepresenting the alleged effectiveness of its hugely profitable drug. 

Meanwhile, Roche has received another FDA-issued Emergency Use Authorization – this time for a Covid-19 PCR test. 

At least it doesn’t cause heart failure. Probably.

Riley Waggaman is Anti-Empire’s Moscow Correspondent

 

Every American knows and cherishes Dr. Anthony Fauci. He’s the kind man on television who issues daily instructions about what must be done to prevent immediate death everywhere: Toddlers should be ‘double-diapered’ to ensure that nothing unsanitary comes out of their mouth-holes, etc. etc.

As director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the chief medical advisor to the president, Fauci has used his remarkable administrative capabilities to funnel vast sums of taxpayer dollars into programs and initiatives that have shielded the public from the flu-like horrors of coronavirus. 

But has he always possessed such superhuman pandemic-response skills? Let us briefly survey his distinguished career as Chief Virus Fighter to see if we might be able to answer this serpentine riddle. 

Fifteen years ago, Fauci was summoned by the media to explain what the United States was going to do about the ‘bird flu’ crisis. What was bird flu? It was one of the worst potential pandemics in human history, with the World Health Organization projecting 7.4 million deaths globally as a “best-case scenario”. (They were close: Over a period of two years, around 150 people died from the scary flu strain, but that figure doesn’t include the innumerable Vietnamese farmers who starved to death after millions of their chickens were forcibly culled by health authorities.)

Everyone was understandably worried but luckily Fauci had a solution: Let’s load up on Tamiflu. Developed by Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche, the antiviral drug was widely hailed for its life-saving properties after it was credited with successfully quelling a bird flu outbreak among Dutch farmers in 2003. 

During an appearance on C-SPAN in October 2005, Fauci claimed that the United States was “as prepared or better prepared than any other country” to deal with the impending mass casualty event, although he stressed that America’s survival would depend on more than just Tamiflu. 

“Vaccines, Tamiflu, public health measures, surveillance capabilities – things like that,” Fauci said, explaining what would be used to beat back the avian plague once it reached America’s shores.

He also elaborated on the health benefits of Roche’s wonder drug, claiming that it could "decrease the number of days of symptoms of the standard seasonal flu." If taken regularly as a prophylaxis, Tamiflu could even prevent infection, Fauci claimed. 

While acknowledging that there was no conclusive data showing that Tamiflu was effective against bird flu, Fauci stated that “we assume it will work” and that “there’s a reasonable assumption that it will work.”

Curiously, Fauci was less optimistic about Tamiflu’s bird flu-fighting powers when he was called to testify before the House Committee on International Relations just three months later, in January 2006. 

As NPR reported at the time, he still supported stockpiling enormous amounts of Tamiflu – in fact, Fauci wanted enough pills to be able to medicate 25% of the country’s population. But, probably as a minor legal formality, he didn’t want lawmakers to get the wrong idea and view the drug as a silver bullet. 

“We have no hard scientific data of how well this antiviral will perform under the conditions of a pandemic,” he told Congress, adding: "What this antiviral does is diminish the duration of symptoms by approximately a day and a half.”

(As a quick aside: The NPR article also quoted Dr. Frederick Hayden of the University of Virginia School of Medicine, who insisted that Tamiflu “can provide a great deal of benefit” if given to patients before they develop severe flu symptoms. Although the article doesn’t mention it, Hayden was a paid consultant for Roche until at least 2004. NPR has the best expert commentaries.)

Fast-foward to April 2009: In response to the “public health emergency” created by an outbreak of H1N1 ‘swine flu’, the US Food and Drug Administration issued an Emergency Use Authorization for Tamiflu. Maybe you have heard of EUAs? They have become very trendy in the last year or so. 

Anyway, Roche received emergency approval to manufacture Tamiflu to “treat and prevent influenza in children under 1 year of age,” while GlaxoSmithKline was charged with pumping out a Tamiflu variant designed for adult consumption. 

On April 29 two days after Tamiflu’s EUA was issued Fauci once again graced Congress with his presence, this time testifying before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. When asked to provide an update on America’s pricey treasure chest of Tamiflu, and whether it would be useful in defeating the new Swine Menace, Fauci said: “Thankfully, the currently circulating 2009 H1N1 flu virus is sensitive to the two major antiviral drugs in our Strategic National Stockpile, Tamiflu and Relenza [the name for ‘adult’ Tamiflu].”

In layman’s terms: Fauci told the US Senate that Tamiflu was still a powerful weapon in America’s anti-pandemic arsenal.

Fauci was insistent. In August 2009, he said that Tamiflu had proven benefits when battling influenza, and urged its use among high-risk groups, particularly infants and pregnant women:

This was just four months after Fauci briefed the Senate. But by then his Tamiflu narrative was already spiraling the sewage drain. 

It was really bad. So bad that the FDA directed Roche to state on the drug’s label: “Tamiflu has not been proven to have a positive impact on the potential consequences (such as hospitalizations, mortality, or economic impact) of seasonal, avian, or pandemic influenza.” 

The FDA explained that clinical trials for Tamiflu “failed to demonstrate any significant difference in rates of hospitalization, complications, or mortality in patients receiving either Tamiflu or placebo.”

It wasn’t that Tamiflu was just borderline useless: There were also concerns, made public by the FDA, that the drug may be linked to potentially fatal heart problems. 

This is not really what you want to hear after spending $1.5 billion stockpiling Tamiflu over the past four years as part of the country’s pandemic preparedness plan. 

Does the Tamiflu Tale end here, with transparent fraud and heart failure? Nein. Things became discernably more embarrassing as reality caught up with Fauci’s “antiviral” pill-peddling.

The Cochrane Collaboration, a globally-respected independent medical research organization, revealed in 2014 that there was little or no evidence that Tamiflu was effective against influenza. For half a decade, Roche had hidden clinical trial data from the public. But once this information was reluctantly handed over, their miracle drug was exposed as snake oil.

It was bad

Tamiflu (the antiviral drug oseltamivir) shortens symptoms of influenza by half a day, but there is no good evidence to support claims that it reduces admissions to hospital or complications of influenza.

$1.5 billion for a pill that curtails symptoms by a whole 12 hours. That's more than 100% less effective than Fauci's already-underwhelming claim that Tamiflu reduces the length of flu symptoms by a whopping "day and a half.”

A year later, an article published by Fauci’s own National Institutes of Health (NIH) described Tamiflu’s fall from grace as a “fiasco” and urged for a return to evidence-based public health policy:

A cocktail of pandemic panic, publicity propaganda, and scientific misconduct turned a new medicine with only modest efficacy into a blockbuster. It appears that the multiple regulatory checks and balances gave way as science lost its primacy and pharmaceutical enterprise lost no time in making the most of it.

How did Fauci respond to these troubling developments? He covered his ears and screamed REEEE. 

Speaking on C-SPAN in January 2018, America’s favorite doctor regurgitated his demonstrably false and depraved talking points about Tamiflu:

Even though it isn’t the perfect medication, it can really mitigate and prevent you from going on to more serious complications. So if you have the flu, and you get Tamiflu, you could prevent getting a serious complication, like a decrease of the hospitalization, decrease in dead. So there are benefits, even though it isn’t the perfect antiviral. 

So Tamiflu went from reducing the length of symptoms by less than two days, to bringing people back from the dead? And he said this in 2018 – years after Tamiflu was exposed as basically useless, and perhaps even dangerous.

Hilariously, Fauci made these completely evidence-starved remarks six months after the World Health Organization quietly removed Tamiflu from its “core” medicines list for combatting influenza. 

Which brings us to the present day. 

Fauci is now synonymous with Science. But what happened to Tamiflu? Roche is currently being sued for $1.5 billion for defrauding the US government by misrepresenting the alleged effectiveness of its hugely profitable drug. 

Meanwhile, Roche has received another FDA-issued Emergency Use Authorization – this time for a Covid-19 PCR test. 

At least it doesn’t cause heart failure. Probably.

Riley Waggaman is Anti-Empire’s Moscow Correspondent

Mike Spector - Sat Jul 24, 2021 07:36

Johnson & Johnson is exploring a plan to offload liabilities from widespread Baby Powder litigation into a newly created business that would then seek bankruptcy protection, according to seven people familiar with the matter.

During settlement discussions, one of the healthcare conglomerate’s attorneys has told plaintiffs’ lawyers that J&J could pursue the bankruptcy plan, which could result in lower payouts for cases that do not settle beforehand, some of the people said. Plaintiffs’ lawyers would initially be unable to stop J&J from taking such a step, though could pursue legal avenues to challenge it later.

J&J has not yet decided whether to pursue the bankruptcy plan and could ultimately abandon the idea, some of the people said. Reuters could not determine whether J&J has retained restructuring lawyers to help the company explore the bankruptcy plan.

J&J faces legal actions from tens of thousands of plaintiffs alleging its Baby Powder and other talc products contained asbestos and caused cancer. The plaintiffs include women suffering from ovarian cancer and others battling mesothelioma.

“Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. has not decided on any particular course of action in this litigation other than to continue to defend the safety of talc and litigate these cases in the tort system, as the pending trials demonstrate,” the J&J subsidiary housing the company’s talc products said in a statement provided to Reuters. J&J declined further comment.

Should J&J proceed, plaintiffs who have not settled could find themselves in protracted bankruptcy proceedings with a likely much smaller company. Future payouts to plaintiffs would be dependent on how J&J decides to fund the entity housing its talc liabilities.

J&J is now considering using Texas's “divisive merger” law, which allows a company to split into at least two entities. For J&J, that could create a new entity housing talc liabilities that would then file for bankruptcy to halt litigation, some of the people said.

The maneuver is known among legal experts as a Texas two-step bankruptcy, a strategy other companies facing asbestos litigation have used in recent years.

J&J could also explore using another mechanism to effectuate the bankruptcy filing besides the Texas law, some of the people said.

A 2018 Reuters investigation found J&J knew for decades that asbestos, a known carcinogen, lurked in its Baby Powder and other cosmetic talc products. The company stopped selling Baby Powder in the U.S. and Canada in May 2020, in part due to what it called “misinformation” and “unfounded allegations” about the talc-based product. J&J maintains its consumer talc products are safe and confirmed through thousands of tests to be asbestos-free.

The blue-chip company, which boasts a roughly $443 billion market value, faces legal actions from more than 30,000 plaintiffs alleging its talc products were unsafe. In June, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear J&J’s appeal of a Missouri court ruling that resulted in $2 billion of damages awarded to women alleging the company’s talc caused their ovarian cancer.

Plaintiffs’ lawyers view the two-step bankruptcy strategy as one that skirts potentially expensive settlements or judgments. Companies view it as a way to corral numerous lawsuits in one court for efficient negotiations that bankruptcy law dictates for asbestos liabilities. The company outside bankruptcy can reach a funding agreement with the entity navigating a court restructuring to cover future settlement payments.

In 2017, Brawny paper towels manufacturer Georgia-Pacific used the Texas law to move asbestos liabilities to an entity that later filed for bankruptcy in North Carolina.

Bankruptcy cases filed to resolve litigation, including those related to asbestos, often take years, and almost never fully repay creditors. OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma LP, for instance, is near resolving thousands of opioid lawsuits after two years of bankruptcy negotiations with a plan valued at more than $10 billion to address trillions of dollars in claims.

Another company, DBMP LLC, filed for bankruptcy last year to resolve asbestos liabilities and said the case could take up to eight years, according to a company press release.

J&J also faces litigation alleging it contributed to the U.S. opioid epidemic and recently recalled certain spray sunscreen products after discovering some of them contained low levels of benzene, another carcinogen.

The company in June agreed to pay $263 million to resolve opioid claims in New York. It has denied wrongdoing related to its opioids.

Source: Reuters

Johnson & Johnson is exploring a plan to offload liabilities from widespread Baby Powder litigation into a newly created business that would then seek bankruptcy protection, according to seven people familiar with the matter.

During settlement discussions, one of the healthcare conglomerate’s attorneys has told plaintiffs’ lawyers that J&J could pursue the bankruptcy plan, which could result in lower payouts for cases that do not settle beforehand, some of the people said. Plaintiffs’ lawyers would initially be unable to stop J&J from taking such a step, though could pursue legal avenues to challenge it later.

J&J has not yet decided whether to pursue the bankruptcy plan and could ultimately abandon the idea, some of the people said. Reuters could not determine whether J&J has retained restructuring lawyers to help the company explore the bankruptcy plan.

J&J faces legal actions from tens of thousands of plaintiffs alleging its Baby Powder and other talc products contained asbestos and caused cancer. The plaintiffs include women suffering from ovarian cancer and others battling mesothelioma.

“Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. has not decided on any particular course of action in this litigation other than to continue to defend the safety of talc and litigate these cases in the tort system, as the pending trials demonstrate,” the J&J subsidiary housing the company’s talc products said in a statement provided to Reuters. J&J declined further comment.

Should J&J proceed, plaintiffs who have not settled could find themselves in protracted bankruptcy proceedings with a likely much smaller company. Future payouts to plaintiffs would be dependent on how J&J decides to fund the entity housing its talc liabilities.

J&J is now considering using Texas's “divisive merger” law, which allows a company to split into at least two entities. For J&J, that could create a new entity housing talc liabilities that would then file for bankruptcy to halt litigation, some of the people said.

The maneuver is known among legal experts as a Texas two-step bankruptcy, a strategy other companies facing asbestos litigation have used in recent years.

J&J could also explore using another mechanism to effectuate the bankruptcy filing besides the Texas law, some of the people said.

A 2018 Reuters investigation found J&J knew for decades that asbestos, a known carcinogen, lurked in its Baby Powder and other cosmetic talc products. The company stopped selling Baby Powder in the U.S. and Canada in May 2020, in part due to what it called “misinformation” and “unfounded allegations” about the talc-based product. J&J maintains its consumer talc products are safe and confirmed through thousands of tests to be asbestos-free.

The blue-chip company, which boasts a roughly $443 billion market value, faces legal actions from more than 30,000 plaintiffs alleging its talc products were unsafe. In June, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear J&J’s appeal of a Missouri court ruling that resulted in $2 billion of damages awarded to women alleging the company’s talc caused their ovarian cancer.

Plaintiffs’ lawyers view the two-step bankruptcy strategy as one that skirts potentially expensive settlements or judgments. Companies view it as a way to corral numerous lawsuits in one court for efficient negotiations that bankruptcy law dictates for asbestos liabilities. The company outside bankruptcy can reach a funding agreement with the entity navigating a court restructuring to cover future settlement payments.

In 2017, Brawny paper towels manufacturer Georgia-Pacific used the Texas law to move asbestos liabilities to an entity that later filed for bankruptcy in North Carolina.

Bankruptcy cases filed to resolve litigation, including those related to asbestos, often take years, and almost never fully repay creditors. OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma LP, for instance, is near resolving thousands of opioid lawsuits after two years of bankruptcy negotiations with a plan valued at more than $10 billion to address trillions of dollars in claims.

Another company, DBMP LLC, filed for bankruptcy last year to resolve asbestos liabilities and said the case could take up to eight years, according to a company press release.

J&J also faces litigation alleging it contributed to the U.S. opioid epidemic and recently recalled certain spray sunscreen products after discovering some of them contained low levels of benzene, another carcinogen.

The company in June agreed to pay $263 million to resolve opioid claims in New York. It has denied wrongdoing related to its opioids.

Source: Reuters

Brian McGlinchey - Sat Jul 24, 2021 02:12

In a move that would primarily benefit the world’s largest economies and most bloated governments, the Biden administration has proposed that all the world’s countries agree to impose corporate taxes at a rate no lower than 15%. Biden also proposes punishing countries that don’t adopt the minimum, by imposing heavier taxes on U.S. subsidiaries of companies headquartered in those countries.

In describing the initiative, Treasury secretary Janet Yellen made her aim all too clear: “It is important to work with other countries to end the pressures of tax competition,” she said in a speech to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

Though we’re conditioned to view them as something else, taxes are prices—albeit ones associated with no small amount of coercion. In that light, Yellen’s public opposition to tax competition should be just as jarring as if a corporate CFO said “it’s important to work with other companies to end the pressures of price competition.”

Aside from being an act of imperious, central-planning arrogance, the U.S.-led drive to fix the minimum corporate price of government is just the latest example of government pursuing an activity that’s illegal for private actors.

Plan Aims to Make Biden Tax Hike More Palatable

It’s no coincidence that Biden’s proposal comes alongside his drive to hike the U.S. corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%. While that would still leave it below the 35% level where it stood before a GOP-led 2017 cut, it would weaken America’s position in international competition for corporate investment.

According to the Tax Foundation, Biden’s corporate tax increase would lift the U.S. federal-state combined rate to 32%, which would be the highest among the 38-member Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

To the extent it encourages companies to shift investments and operations to more tax-friendly locales, the tax hike would be at least partially self-defeating. Thus comes the Biden administration’s campaign for a 15% global minimum.

Notably, that rate wasn’t the administration’s first choice—it originally floated a 21% floor. The administration likely sees a 15% pact as a precedent-setting foundation for eventually pushing a higher minimum.

Begging credulity, Biden told reporters he wasn’t concerned that higher taxes could prompt U.S. companies to relocate. “There’s no evidence of that…that’s bizarre,” he said.

Though proposed as a global minimum, the initial focus is on persuading the G7 countries: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom and United States. Reuters has reported that G7 finance ministers will soon announce their commitment to the idea.

Plan Would Benefit Largest Governments at Expense of the Smallest

The sledding will get a lot tougher after moving beyond that group of the world’s wealthiest economic heavyweights to the G20, OECD and beyond.

Indeed, OECD member Ireland, which boasts a 12.5% corporate tax rate, has already declared its opposition to the scheme—a scheme that threatens to widen the divide between larger and smaller economies.

Smaller countries often use lower tax rates to heighten their appeal as they compete with larger, more advanced economies: The 24 largest European economies average a 20.8% corporate tax rate, compared to 14.5% for the 24 smallest.

Given Ireland’s 12.5% rate has spurred high-tech investment and prosperity in the country, it’s easy to see why it would promptly reject an invitation to surrender it for the benefit of the United States and other economic giants.

“We do have really significant reservations regarding a global minimum effective tax rate status at such a level that it means only certain countries, and certain size economies can benefit,” said Ireland finance minister Paschal Donohoe.

In a separate statement, the Irish government said could support a 12.5% minimum, “which is fair and within the ambit of healthy tax competition.”

Alas, to big-government proponents of a minimum corporate tax, “healthy tax competition” is an oxymoron: Yellen has decried a downtrend in corporate tax rates as a “30-year race to the bottom” that must be stopped.

Corporate Taxes Affect Everyone

Americans should be as hostile to a global minimum corporate tax as they would to a global minimum price for computer chips, lumber or steel. Higher corporate taxes mean businesses have less money to invest in new facilities, develop products, hire workers, pay dividends and command higher stock prices.

The ripple effect is potent. According to a study by the Organization for International Cooperation and Development, “corporate taxes are found to be most harmful for growth, followed by personal income taxes, and then consumption taxes."

Some will scoff at the idea that higher stock prices and dividends are good for the public. However, via 401(k) plans, IRAs, mutual funds and direct stock investments, 55% of Americans are corporate shareholders of one type or another

Though routinely vilified by demagoguing politicians, businesses are part of an economic ecosystem in which all of us live. When government increases the tax burden of either businesses or individuals, both groups are affected.

Feeding Washington’s Spending Addiction

Having said all that, let’s not let the latest tax debate divert our attention from an essential fact: The U.S. government doesn’t have a revenue problem—it has a spending problem. And it’s poised to grow even worse.

Biden has requested a staggering $6 trillion federal budget for the coming fiscal year—that’s nearly a third higher than pre-pandemic levels. As a percentage of GDP, the president’s plan for the coming decade would see sustained spending at levels unseen since World War II.

When that war ended, spending subsided. Today, as the government-exacerbated Covid-19 crisis winds down, Biden and congressional allies are proposing to spend even more, content to watch trillion dollar deficits become routine, and the federal debt mushroom even after hiking rates on individuals and businesses.

That’s the real race to the bottom, Ms. Yellen.

Source: Stark Realities

In a move that would primarily benefit the world’s largest economies and most bloated governments, the Biden administration has proposed that all the world’s countries agree to impose corporate taxes at a rate no lower than 15%. Biden also proposes punishing countries that don’t adopt the minimum, by imposing heavier taxes on U.S. subsidiaries of companies headquartered in those countries.

In describing the initiative, Treasury secretary Janet Yellen made her aim all too clear: “It is important to work with other countries to end the pressures of tax competition,” she said in a speech to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

Though we’re conditioned to view them as something else, taxes are prices—albeit ones associated with no small amount of coercion. In that light, Yellen’s public opposition to tax competition should be just as jarring as if a corporate CFO said “it’s important to work with other companies to end the pressures of price competition.”

Aside from being an act of imperious, central-planning arrogance, the U.S.-led drive to fix the minimum corporate price of government is just the latest example of government pursuing an activity that’s illegal for private actors.

Plan Aims to Make Biden Tax Hike More Palatable

It’s no coincidence that Biden’s proposal comes alongside his drive to hike the U.S. corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%. While that would still leave it below the 35% level where it stood before a GOP-led 2017 cut, it would weaken America’s position in international competition for corporate investment.

According to the Tax Foundation, Biden’s corporate tax increase would lift the U.S. federal-state combined rate to 32%, which would be the highest among the 38-member Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

To the extent it encourages companies to shift investments and operations to more tax-friendly locales, the tax hike would be at least partially self-defeating. Thus comes the Biden administration’s campaign for a 15% global minimum.

Notably, that rate wasn’t the administration’s first choice—it originally floated a 21% floor. The administration likely sees a 15% pact as a precedent-setting foundation for eventually pushing a higher minimum.

Begging credulity, Biden told reporters he wasn’t concerned that higher taxes could prompt U.S. companies to relocate. “There’s no evidence of that…that’s bizarre,” he said.

Though proposed as a global minimum, the initial focus is on persuading the G7 countries: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom and United States. Reuters has reported that G7 finance ministers will soon announce their commitment to the idea.

Plan Would Benefit Largest Governments at Expense of the Smallest

The sledding will get a lot tougher after moving beyond that group of the world’s wealthiest economic heavyweights to the G20, OECD and beyond.

Indeed, OECD member Ireland, which boasts a 12.5% corporate tax rate, has already declared its opposition to the scheme—a scheme that threatens to widen the divide between larger and smaller economies.

Smaller countries often use lower tax rates to heighten their appeal as they compete with larger, more advanced economies: The 24 largest European economies average a 20.8% corporate tax rate, compared to 14.5% for the 24 smallest.

Given Ireland’s 12.5% rate has spurred high-tech investment and prosperity in the country, it’s easy to see why it would promptly reject an invitation to surrender it for the benefit of the United States and other economic giants.

“We do have really significant reservations regarding a global minimum effective tax rate status at such a level that it means only certain countries, and certain size economies can benefit,” said Ireland finance minister Paschal Donohoe.

In a separate statement, the Irish government said could support a 12.5% minimum, “which is fair and within the ambit of healthy tax competition.”

Alas, to big-government proponents of a minimum corporate tax, “healthy tax competition” is an oxymoron: Yellen has decried a downtrend in corporate tax rates as a “30-year race to the bottom” that must be stopped.

Corporate Taxes Affect Everyone

Americans should be as hostile to a global minimum corporate tax as they would to a global minimum price for computer chips, lumber or steel. Higher corporate taxes mean businesses have less money to invest in new facilities, develop products, hire workers, pay dividends and command higher stock prices.

The ripple effect is potent. According to a study by the Organization for International Cooperation and Development, “corporate taxes are found to be most harmful for growth, followed by personal income taxes, and then consumption taxes."

Some will scoff at the idea that higher stock prices and dividends are good for the public. However, via 401(k) plans, IRAs, mutual funds and direct stock investments, 55% of Americans are corporate shareholders of one type or another

Though routinely vilified by demagoguing politicians, businesses are part of an economic ecosystem in which all of us live. When government increases the tax burden of either businesses or individuals, both groups are affected.

Feeding Washington’s Spending Addiction

Having said all that, let’s not let the latest tax debate divert our attention from an essential fact: The U.S. government doesn’t have a revenue problem—it has a spending problem. And it’s poised to grow even worse.

Biden has requested a staggering $6 trillion federal budget for the coming fiscal year—that’s nearly a third higher than pre-pandemic levels. As a percentage of GDP, the president’s plan for the coming decade would see sustained spending at levels unseen since World War II.

When that war ended, spending subsided. Today, as the government-exacerbated Covid-19 crisis winds down, Biden and congressional allies are proposing to spend even more, content to watch trillion dollar deficits become routine, and the federal debt mushroom even after hiking rates on individuals and businesses.

That’s the real race to the bottom, Ms. Yellen.

Source: Stark Realities

Rick Rozoff - Fri Jul 23, 2021 12:43

Interfax-Ukraine reported that the Danish ambassador to Ukraine paid a two-day visit to the front line of his host country’s war in the Donbass region. The press report phrased its account of the event like this: “On July 19-20, a delegation of the Kingdom of Denmark, led by Ambassador Ole Egberg Mikkelsen, visited the area of the Joint Forces Operation (JFO), and also met with representatives of Luhansk Regional Military-Civil Administration.” On the latter score, that is the part of Lugansk still under control of the Ukrainian government.

The Danish delegation, for all the world as though its members were military attachés, or military advisors, met with Deputy Commander of the Joint Forces Eduard Moskaliov and toured an observation post of a Ukrainian armed forces unit that is assigned to the Joint Forces Operation, until recently the Anti-Terrorist Operation. (National Anti-Terrorist Operation would have provided a more accurate acronym.)

Somehow it’s difficult to imagine, say, ambassadors to Moscow being taken to the eastern border of the Donbass to meet with Russian commanders and inspect Russian military units. Four days earlier the top American envoy in Ukraine led a similar delegation to the war zone. That’s generally not the way things are done in what were formerly known as diplomatic circles.

The press office of the Joint Forces Operation quoted the head of the delegation of loyal subjects of Queen Margrethe II stating:

“I am very happy to visit the contact line and see everything with my own eyes. This is the front line of peaceful life, the front line of democracy. You protect the security of Europe, so if you are in danger, then we cannot be safe either. I am very glad to meet all of you commanders and soldiers. My sincere gratitude to you for what you are doing.”

[High praise for what amounts to border agents at a checkpoint.]

He might have engaged in a rare moment of candor and acknowledged that plebeian youth drafted into the Ukrainian army to kill and be killed in a fratricidal war with their fellow citizens are in fact preserving the prerogatives, human and divine, of the Transatlantic elites who recognize no sense of obligation to any nation or any people. Self-isolated cosmopolites who only acknowledge other deracinated parasites as their kin and compatriots. The names adopted by the targets of the NATO-supported war, the People’s Republic of Donetsk and the People’s Republic of Lugansk, are doubly anathema to Western monarchists.

When the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was established in 1949 seven of its twelve members were – and remain – constitutional monarchies: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway and the United Kingdom. The monarchy Spain joined in 1992 and monarchical Sweden, which has recently become a NATO Enhanced Opportunities Partner, might as well be a full member as it’s supplied troops for NATO’s war in Afghanistan and warplanes for its war against Libya. In furtherance of the global geopolitical objectives of what could be called the NATO (Nordic Aryan Teutonic Order) new Wholly Roamin’ Empire.

The current secretary general of the military bloc, Jens Stoltenberg, is a subject of King Harald V of Norway. His immediate predecessor, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, was a subject of Queen Margrethe II. The other living former leaders of NATO were also subjects of their respective monarchs: Jaap de Hoop Scheffer of Queen Beatrix, George Robertson (Baron Robertson of Port Ellen) of Queen Elizabeth II, Javier Solana of Juan Carlos I and Willy Claes of King Albert II.

What the cannon fodder on the Donbass front line have really been dragooned into laying down their lives for is to protect the right of unearned privilege of all sorts, including hereditary rule. To maintain the right to pass down power and privilege through bloodlines. To marry and breed solely within their own ranks. To annually have the lifetime incomes of several of their subjects lavished upon them, in the words of the poet, simply for taking the trouble to be born.

The system, in short, which NATO and the European Union were founded to protect and perpetuate. Oh, yes, and of course something or other about democracy and freedom and diversity and equality. And peace.

Source: Anti-Bellum

Interfax-Ukraine reported that the Danish ambassador to Ukraine paid a two-day visit to the front line of his host country’s war in the Donbass region. The press report phrased its account of the event like this: “On July 19-20, a delegation of the Kingdom of Denmark, led by Ambassador Ole Egberg Mikkelsen, visited the area of the Joint Forces Operation (JFO), and also met with representatives of Luhansk Regional Military-Civil Administration.” On the latter score, that is the part of Lugansk still under control of the Ukrainian government.

The Danish delegation, for all the world as though its members were military attachés, or military advisors, met with Deputy Commander of the Joint Forces Eduard Moskaliov and toured an observation post of a Ukrainian armed forces unit that is assigned to the Joint Forces Operation, until recently the Anti-Terrorist Operation. (National Anti-Terrorist Operation would have provided a more accurate acronym.)

Somehow it’s difficult to imagine, say, ambassadors to Moscow being taken to the eastern border of the Donbass to meet with Russian commanders and inspect Russian military units. Four days earlier the top American envoy in Ukraine led a similar delegation to the war zone. That’s generally not the way things are done in what were formerly known as diplomatic circles.

The press office of the Joint Forces Operation quoted the head of the delegation of loyal subjects of Queen Margrethe II stating:

“I am very happy to visit the contact line and see everything with my own eyes. This is the front line of peaceful life, the front line of democracy. You protect the security of Europe, so if you are in danger, then we cannot be safe either. I am very glad to meet all of you commanders and soldiers. My sincere gratitude to you for what you are doing.”

[High praise for what amounts to border agents at a checkpoint.]

He might have engaged in a rare moment of candor and acknowledged that plebeian youth drafted into the Ukrainian army to kill and be killed in a fratricidal war with their fellow citizens are in fact preserving the prerogatives, human and divine, of the Transatlantic elites who recognize no sense of obligation to any nation or any people. Self-isolated cosmopolites who only acknowledge other deracinated parasites as their kin and compatriots. The names adopted by the targets of the NATO-supported war, the People’s Republic of Donetsk and the People’s Republic of Lugansk, are doubly anathema to Western monarchists.

When the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was established in 1949 seven of its twelve members were – and remain – constitutional monarchies: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway and the United Kingdom. The monarchy Spain joined in 1992 and monarchical Sweden, which has recently become a NATO Enhanced Opportunities Partner, might as well be a full member as it’s supplied troops for NATO’s war in Afghanistan and warplanes for its war against Libya. In furtherance of the global geopolitical objectives of what could be called the NATO (Nordic Aryan Teutonic Order) new Wholly Roamin’ Empire.

The current secretary general of the military bloc, Jens Stoltenberg, is a subject of King Harald V of Norway. His immediate predecessor, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, was a subject of Queen Margrethe II. The other living former leaders of NATO were also subjects of their respective monarchs: Jaap de Hoop Scheffer of Queen Beatrix, George Robertson (Baron Robertson of Port Ellen) of Queen Elizabeth II, Javier Solana of Juan Carlos I and Willy Claes of King Albert II.

What the cannon fodder on the Donbass front line have really been dragooned into laying down their lives for is to protect the right of unearned privilege of all sorts, including hereditary rule. To maintain the right to pass down power and privilege through bloodlines. To marry and breed solely within their own ranks. To annually have the lifetime incomes of several of their subjects lavished upon them, in the words of the poet, simply for taking the trouble to be born.

The system, in short, which NATO and the European Union were founded to protect and perpetuate. Oh, yes, and of course something or other about democracy and freedom and diversity and equality. And peace.

Source: Anti-Bellum

Marko Marjanović - Fri Jul 23, 2021 10:45

From August the French "health" pass will be required for hospitals. From October on it will also be required for children aged 12 and above. From September PCR testing will no longer be offered for free. Instead, there will be a €49 charge each time. The state is clear that the test no longer being free is precisely to make it more difficult to remain unvaccinated:

From autumn it will cost €49 for all people in France to get a PCR test without a prescription.

President Emmanuel Macron announced the new measure in a televised address last night (July 12).

The government hopes that introducing fees for tests which are not needed for medical reasons will encourage more people in France to get vaccinated.

The "health" pass is not only a requirement for patrons of eg cafes, museums and long-distance trains but also their employees. Employees who do not get vaccinated will have to spend €49 every three days on PCR testing, or their employers are obligated to suspend them without pay or pay heavy fines themselves. After 2 months of suspension, the employee can be fired.

An "interesting" situation indeed. The unvaccinated and their children will be made to jump through time-intensive hoops and spend €49 every time before they enter a hospital. But they will of course continue to be taxed to support these hospitals that they don't have equal access to.

This is not about shielding hospitals from a respiratory virus. First of all, statistically speaking a visitor is far more likely to catch a virus in a hospital than bring it there, which is why it has historically never been done. Secondly, if tests for COVID, then why not for any number of other contagious diseases? Thirdly, vaccination does not eliminate infections or transmissions, so why not require a PCR-negative from the vaccinated as well? And finally, why not keep them free of charge?

Apartheid, segregation, dhimmitude... call it what you want, but it's clear the unvaccinated French are the niggers, the tax cattle (rayah), the untouchables in Macron's New Technocratic Order —— invited to continue funding the system, but not offered even the meager rights and benefits the rest of the plebians enjoy.

The National Assembly has just put online a - provisional - version of the text voted by the deputies, which you can consult here (PDF file) . Here are the main lines of the bill as adopted by the elected officials of the Palais-Bourbon:

  • The extension of the health pass is validated in cafes, restaurants, long-distance public transport but also in hospitals - except for emergency consultations.
  • 12-17 people are exempt from a health pass until September 30, 2021.
  • Employees of the establishments concerned may have their employment contract suspended without remuneration if they do not present the health pass, they risk dismissal after two months.

This is only the start too. If the caste system continues the children of the unvaccinated will be subjected to various forms of pressure and harassment when parents are not present: 

School principals will be able to have access to the "viorological status" and "vaccination" of the pupils, to "facilitate access to the vaccination campaigns organized in the establishments" and to organize "teaching conditions making it possible to prevent the risks of spread of the virus".

It is also not difficult to see how in a situation where a "social worker" is deciding whether to kidnap children from a family their unvaccinated status could count against them.

 

From August the French "health" pass will be required for hospitals. From October on it will also be required for children aged 12 and above. From September PCR testing will no longer be offered for free. Instead, there will be a €49 charge each time. The state is clear that the test no longer being free is precisely to make it more difficult to remain unvaccinated:

From autumn it will cost €49 for all people in France to get a PCR test without a prescription.

President Emmanuel Macron announced the new measure in a televised address last night (July 12).

The government hopes that introducing fees for tests which are not needed for medical reasons will encourage more people in France to get vaccinated.

The "health" pass is not only a requirement for patrons of eg cafes, museums and long-distance trains but also their employees. Employees who do not get vaccinated will have to spend €49 every three days on PCR testing, or their employers are obligated to suspend them without pay or pay heavy fines themselves. After 2 months of suspension, the employee can be fired.

An "interesting" situation indeed. The unvaccinated and their children will be made to jump through time-intensive hoops and spend €49 every time before they enter a hospital. But they will of course continue to be taxed to support these hospitals that they don't have equal access to.

This is not about shielding hospitals from a respiratory virus. First of all, statistically speaking a visitor is far more likely to catch a virus in a hospital than bring it there, which is why it has historically never been done. Secondly, if tests for COVID, then why not for any number of other contagious diseases? Thirdly, vaccination does not eliminate infections or transmissions, so why not require a PCR-negative from the vaccinated as well? And finally, why not keep them free of charge?

Apartheid, segregation, dhimmitude... call it what you want, but it's clear the unvaccinated French are the niggers, the tax cattle (rayah), the untouchables in Macron's New Technocratic Order —— invited to continue funding the system, but not offered even the meager rights and benefits the rest of the plebians enjoy.

The National Assembly has just put online a - provisional - version of the text voted by the deputies, which you can consult here (PDF file) . Here are the main lines of the bill as adopted by the elected officials of the Palais-Bourbon:

  • The extension of the health pass is validated in cafes, restaurants, long-distance public transport but also in hospitals - except for emergency consultations.
  • 12-17 people are exempt from a health pass until September 30, 2021.
  • Employees of the establishments concerned may have their employment contract suspended without remuneration if they do not present the health pass, they risk dismissal after two months.

This is only the start too. If the caste system continues the children of the unvaccinated will be subjected to various forms of pressure and harassment when parents are not present: 

School principals will be able to have access to the "viorological status" and "vaccination" of the pupils, to "facilitate access to the vaccination campaigns organized in the establishments" and to organize "teaching conditions making it possible to prevent the risks of spread of the virus".

It is also not difficult to see how in a situation where a "social worker" is deciding whether to kidnap children from a family their unvaccinated status could count against them.

 

Anti-Empire - Thu Jul 22, 2021 13:36

Apparently of the past 16 months many Australians have spent 6 in snap lockdowns of one intensity or another.

Lockdowns accompanied with instructions to not "act like a human":

Undeterred by 16 months of snap "don't act human" lockdowns their rulers proclaim "NO REGRET":

Worst of all, far from there being light at the end of the tunnel if nothing changes Australians (and New Zealanders) can look forward to snap lockdowns until the end of their lives. That is because the promised salvation — the vaccine — can't deliver with what the optimistic Australian virus Maoist rulers tasked it with.

Australia and New Zealand have declared even a single "case" of COVID intolerable and grounds to confine millions of people to their homes (like in a Third World military coup in progress). Problem is, it is clear now beyond doubt that vaccines do not eliminate infections or even transmissions. In fact in Israel — the leader in global vaccination rates — the vaccinated and the non-vaccinated are contributing "cases" (PCR test positives) in exact proportion to their share of the population.

If the two countries stick to "zero COVID" ideology where a handful of "cases" call for crippling and imprisoning vast swathes of the nation at the snap of politicians' fingers, they can expect to continue to be doing so well into the next decade.

COVID will become endemic and will always be 'burning' at one intensity or another, just like other viruses that we aren't manically testing for are. (Especially not with notoriously oversensitive PCR "tests".) Vaccines will not change that.

There was a time when people marveled and laughed at the incomprehensible Stalinism of North Korea. Now Australia and New Zealand are taking that place.

Covid: Anger as half of Australians in lockdown again

Anger is growing in Australia as 13 million people - about half the population - endure fresh lockdowns to quash Covid outbreaks.

A third state went into lockdown on Tuesday. Stay-at-home orders are now in place in South Australia, Victoria and parts of New South Wales.

Many people have expressed frustration at being back in highly policed lockdowns 18 months into the pandemic.

And re-openings in the UK and the US have put pressure on the government.

Fewer than 14% of people are vaccinated - the worst rating among OECD nations.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been heavily criticised over the slow vaccination rate, but has resisted calls to apologise.

"No country has got their pandemic response 100%," he told reporters on Wednesday.

He again mentioned Australia's success in keeping overall infections low compared to those in many nations.

915 people have died of Covid in Australia. Mr Morrison noted that the UK had recorded more than 90 deaths in a single day on Tuesday.

Until recently, Australia's strategy of border closures, quarantine programmes and snap lockdowns helped keep cases low. But the highly contagious Delta variant has challenged these defences in the past month.

The outbreak in Sydney - Australia's largest city - has infected more than 1,500 people and officials reported more than 110 new cases on Wednesday, despite the city being in lockdown for a fourth week.

There are fears Sydney's lockdown could extend into September.

Australian authorities have said they intend to eliminate local cases completely until a majority of people are vaccinated, but in Sydney eliminating cases could take months.

Apparently of the past 16 months many Australians have spent 6 in snap lockdowns of one intensity or another.

Lockdowns accompanied with instructions to not "act like a human":

Undeterred by 16 months of snap "don't act human" lockdowns their rulers proclaim "NO REGRET":

Worst of all, far from there being light at the end of the tunnel if nothing changes Australians (and New Zealanders) can look forward to snap lockdowns until the end of their lives. That is because the promised salvation — the vaccine — can't deliver with what the optimistic Australian virus Maoist rulers tasked it with.

Australia and New Zealand have declared even a single "case" of COVID intolerable and grounds to confine millions of people to their homes (like in a Third World military coup in progress). Problem is, it is clear now beyond doubt that vaccines do not eliminate infections or even transmissions. In fact in Israel — the leader in global vaccination rates — the vaccinated and the non-vaccinated are contributing "cases" (PCR test positives) in exact proportion to their share of the population.

If the two countries stick to "zero COVID" ideology where a handful of "cases" call for crippling and imprisoning vast swathes of the nation at the snap of politicians' fingers, they can expect to continue to be doing so well into the next decade.

COVID will become endemic and will always be 'burning' at one intensity or another, just like other viruses that we aren't manically testing for are. (Especially not with notoriously oversensitive PCR "tests".) Vaccines will not change that.

There was a time when people marveled and laughed at the incomprehensible Stalinism of North Korea. Now Australia and New Zealand are taking that place.

Covid: Anger as half of Australians in lockdown again

Anger is growing in Australia as 13 million people - about half the population - endure fresh lockdowns to quash Covid outbreaks.

A third state went into lockdown on Tuesday. Stay-at-home orders are now in place in South Australia, Victoria and parts of New South Wales.

Many people have expressed frustration at being back in highly policed lockdowns 18 months into the pandemic.

And re-openings in the UK and the US have put pressure on the government.

Fewer than 14% of people are vaccinated - the worst rating among OECD nations.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been heavily criticised over the slow vaccination rate, but has resisted calls to apologise.

"No country has got their pandemic response 100%," he told reporters on Wednesday.

He again mentioned Australia's success in keeping overall infections low compared to those in many nations.

915 people have died of Covid in Australia. Mr Morrison noted that the UK had recorded more than 90 deaths in a single day on Tuesday.

Until recently, Australia's strategy of border closures, quarantine programmes and snap lockdowns helped keep cases low. But the highly contagious Delta variant has challenged these defences in the past month.

The outbreak in Sydney - Australia's largest city - has infected more than 1,500 people and officials reported more than 110 new cases on Wednesday, despite the city being in lockdown for a fourth week.

There are fears Sydney's lockdown could extend into September.

Australian authorities have said they intend to eliminate local cases completely until a majority of people are vaccinated, but in Sydney eliminating cases could take months.

Pham Minh Triet - Thu Jul 22, 2021 12:36

A woman in HCMC recently told me it would be very difficult for her mentally ill child and the whole family if they are forced to quarantine.

During the previous wave of infection, her neighborhood was placed under lockdown after a resident tested positive for Covid-19.

Fortunately, everyone in her family tested negative and so did not have to go to a government quarantine. But health workers had informed her that should anyone in her family test positive, her child would have to be quarantined too.

The child, unable to move or speak without assistance, has needed 24-hour care since birth.

"If forced to go into quarantine my child will probably die," the woman said, asking me if I had any solution.

I have looked up regulations on medical quarantine for children.

A document from the Ministry of Health merely says children under five can be isolated at home while those aged five to 15 would have to quarantine at government-run facilities. There are no separate provisions for disabled children.

The Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs has policies to support children staying at quarantine centers and those that test positive for Covid. They include fully covering treatment costs, provision of essential supplies and psychological support.

But from a professional perspective, I would like to add some equally important notes.

Children might be in the low-risk group for Covid, but its impact on their mental health is far from insignificant. A study in China found that children might experience psychological issues such as insecurity, having nightmares, anxiety, decreased appetite, sleep disturbance, fear of losing relatives, decreased attention span, and irritability.

It said 13-37 percent of children were affected.

In another study in the U.S., 40 percent of parents found that their children showed signs of stress and anxiety caused by being quarantined.

One of my patients, a middle school student studying in Europe, was severely affected mentally during the previous Covid wave. She went to the airport by herself with the intention of returning to Vietnam, but all flights were canceled. Alone, with no relatives by her side, she had a panic attack and had to be hospitalized for a while. Though her condition has improved, the psychological trauma is still affecting her daily life and ability to study.

And that is just the impact on normal children.

For disabled children, the impact is often more severe due to poor adaptability and a lack of supportive medical services amid the pandemic. The majority of children with autism often have violent reactions when placed in a new environment without a long period of preparation beforehand.

In the case of children with cerebral palsy, medical quarantine will clearly affect their and their families' daily lives, and put even more burden on the healthcare system, which is already overloaded due to the pandemic.

Many studies also found a number of other factors likely to trigger psychological and psychiatric disorders in children. Most notably, children without relatives by their side and children with parents suffering from stress and anxiety are more likely to be affected than children with "normal" parents.

Vietnam has so far quarantined over 4,000 children without relatives by their side. While there are no statistics on their mental health, I am afraid the number of children who must be psychologically affected is not small.

One of the important conditions to help children achieve mental stability is creating a quarantine and treatment environment similar to the environment they live in every day.

If possible, quarantining should be done in schools similar to ones the children go to. This is especially important for children of kindergarten age who would struggle in a military camp environment.

That is why I believe it is very important for teachers to participate in the fight against the pandemic. In addition to taking care of children onsite, teachers could also help them through online means. I know many passionate teachers that would be ready to organize online storytelling sessions for children during the pandemic.

Being able to meet and talk to parents or relatives on a regular basis could also help improve children's morale. Face-to-face visits that comply with anti-pandemic regulations or online meetings could be a solution, but the relatives need to remain calm during the visits so as not to spark anxiety in the children.

With my experience working at the Department of Psychology, Children's Hospital No.1, I believe that social workers could assist quarantined children together with health workers. They could play with the children, help them study, organize group activities for them, calm them down, and identify children with psychological issues so that they can receive help from experts.

Finally, arming the children with basic information about Covid could help protect them.

Like for the national program on HIV/AIDS prevention and control for children, documents compiled in the form of comics that include questions such as what Covid-19 is, how it spreads and why quarantine is necessary will be useful.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has already compiled such documents, and these are provided for free on its website.

To return to the woman I mentioned earlier, I told her I had yet to find an answer in the case of her child and disabled children in general.

"What is the solution according to you?" I asked in return.

Her instant reply: "I just hope that if something happens, my child will be allowed to be quarantined at home so that we can take care."

Source: VN Express

A woman in HCMC recently told me it would be very difficult for her mentally ill child and the whole family if they are forced to quarantine.

During the previous wave of infection, her neighborhood was placed under lockdown after a resident tested positive for Covid-19.

Fortunately, everyone in her family tested negative and so did not have to go to a government quarantine. But health workers had informed her that should anyone in her family test positive, her child would have to be quarantined too.

The child, unable to move or speak without assistance, has needed 24-hour care since birth.

"If forced to go into quarantine my child will probably die," the woman said, asking me if I had any solution.

I have looked up regulations on medical quarantine for children.

A document from the Ministry of Health merely says children under five can be isolated at home while those aged five to 15 would have to quarantine at government-run facilities. There are no separate provisions for disabled children.

The Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs has policies to support children staying at quarantine centers and those that test positive for Covid. They include fully covering treatment costs, provision of essential supplies and psychological support.

But from a professional perspective, I would like to add some equally important notes.

Children might be in the low-risk group for Covid, but its impact on their mental health is far from insignificant. A study in China found that children might experience psychological issues such as insecurity, having nightmares, anxiety, decreased appetite, sleep disturbance, fear of losing relatives, decreased attention span, and irritability.

It said 13-37 percent of children were affected.

In another study in the U.S., 40 percent of parents found that their children showed signs of stress and anxiety caused by being quarantined.

One of my patients, a middle school student studying in Europe, was severely affected mentally during the previous Covid wave. She went to the airport by herself with the intention of returning to Vietnam, but all flights were canceled. Alone, with no relatives by her side, she had a panic attack and had to be hospitalized for a while. Though her condition has improved, the psychological trauma is still affecting her daily life and ability to study.

And that is just the impact on normal children.

For disabled children, the impact is often more severe due to poor adaptability and a lack of supportive medical services amid the pandemic. The majority of children with autism often have violent reactions when placed in a new environment without a long period of preparation beforehand.

In the case of children with cerebral palsy, medical quarantine will clearly affect their and their families' daily lives, and put even more burden on the healthcare system, which is already overloaded due to the pandemic.

Many studies also found a number of other factors likely to trigger psychological and psychiatric disorders in children. Most notably, children without relatives by their side and children with parents suffering from stress and anxiety are more likely to be affected than children with "normal" parents.

Vietnam has so far quarantined over 4,000 children without relatives by their side. While there are no statistics on their mental health, I am afraid the number of children who must be psychologically affected is not small.

One of the important conditions to help children achieve mental stability is creating a quarantine and treatment environment similar to the environment they live in every day.

If possible, quarantining should be done in schools similar to ones the children go to. This is especially important for children of kindergarten age who would struggle in a military camp environment.

That is why I believe it is very important for teachers to participate in the fight against the pandemic. In addition to taking care of children onsite, teachers could also help them through online means. I know many passionate teachers that would be ready to organize online storytelling sessions for children during the pandemic.

Being able to meet and talk to parents or relatives on a regular basis could also help improve children's morale. Face-to-face visits that comply with anti-pandemic regulations or online meetings could be a solution, but the relatives need to remain calm during the visits so as not to spark anxiety in the children.

With my experience working at the Department of Psychology, Children's Hospital No.1, I believe that social workers could assist quarantined children together with health workers. They could play with the children, help them study, organize group activities for them, calm them down, and identify children with psychological issues so that they can receive help from experts.

Finally, arming the children with basic information about Covid could help protect them.

Like for the national program on HIV/AIDS prevention and control for children, documents compiled in the form of comics that include questions such as what Covid-19 is, how it spreads and why quarantine is necessary will be useful.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has already compiled such documents, and these are provided for free on its website.

To return to the woman I mentioned earlier, I told her I had yet to find an answer in the case of her child and disabled children in general.

"What is the solution according to you?" I asked in return.

Her instant reply: "I just hope that if something happens, my child will be allowed to be quarantined at home so that we can take care."

Source: VN Express

Ethan Paul - Thu Jul 22, 2021 11:36

Politicians and pundits in Washington have long warned that China is seeking to erode global democracy and “export its authoritarian model,” but the culprit behind explosive spy revelations this week appears to be America’s closest military ally in the Middle East.

A private Israeli surveillance firm has been selling spyware to several governments for use in terrorism and criminal investigations, but some have turned it on journalists, activists, business executives, and politicians, an investigation by a consortium of 17 media organizations revealed on Sunday.

Reports by The Guardian and Washington Post, among others, said that NSO Group, a private Israeli firm with links to the state, developed and sold governments licenses for hacking software called “Pegasus.” The tool is capable of penetrating smartphones, granting access to their most sensitive data, and remotely activating features such as cameras and microphones.

Investigations of a leaked data system containing 50,000 phone numbers concluded that it may have been a list of possible targets compiled by 10 countries with licenses to use the tool. Among them are several authoritarian or increasingly non-democratic countries, such as Kazakhstan, the United Arab Emirates, and Hungary, as well as others close to the U.S., including Saudi Arabia, India, and Mexico.

1,000 people spread across 50 different countries were identified as having numbers on the list. According to the Washington Post, among them are “several Arab royal family members, at least 65 business executives, 85 human rights activists, 189 journalists, and more than 600 politicians and government officials.” This includes Robert Malley, the Biden administration’s lead Iran negotiator, and journalists for CNN, the Associated Press, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times.

Forensic analysis of 67 implicated phones found that 37 showed traces of attempted or successful penetration; results for the remaining 30 were “inconclusive,” but did not definitively rule out an attempted hack. “After the investigation began,” the Post reported, “several reporters in the consortium learned that they or their family members had been successfully attacked with Pegasus spyware.”

Timothy Summers, a former cybersecurity engineer in the U.S. intelligence community quoted by the Post, described Pegasus as an “eloquently nasty” tool that could be used to “spy on almost the entire world population.”

The tool was developed by Israeli ex-cyberspies a decade ago, and has been in use since at least 2016. NSO counts 60 intelligence, military and law enforcement agencies across 40 countries as customers, and the Post characterizes the organization as a “worldwide leader in the growing and largely unregulated private spyware industry.”

For its part, NSO disputed the investigation’s findings. It claims that licensing contracts stipulate Pegasus is only to be used for terrorism and criminal investigations, and that it conducts a rigorous vetting process into potential customers’ human rights records. It denied that the leaked data constituted a list of targets, and said that it has terminated contracts with five governments over concerns about potential abuses.

The Israeli Ministry of Defense closely regulates NSO and individually signs off on new export licenses for its surveillance technology – making it likely that the program was well-known if not endorsed at the highest levels of the Israeli government.

Less than 24 hours after this bombshell dropped, the United States joined the European Union, NATO, Japan and its “Five Eyes” allies in a Monday morning media blitz accusing China of orchestrating a global cyber hacking campaign, including a large attack on Microsoft first disclosed in March.

Although U.S. intelligence agencies likely target China in cyberspace for non-commercial reasons, there is no doubt that China is a highly aggressive actor with a long history of targeting companies, universities and government agencies; it is also a leading exporter of some high-tech surveillance equipment, although the U.S. and other democracies are not far behind.

There is also no doubt that if a Chinese firm were found selling spyware to potentially dozens of governments, some of whom then used it to target activists and journalists, it would be held up as a leading example of how China is “exporting its authoritarian model” or “exporting its ideology,” adding fuel to the Biden administration’s fire that it is leading a great global struggle between democracies and autocracies to win the 21st century.

What ideology is one of America’s closest military and political partners exporting when it sells Pegasus to rights-abusing regimes with limited oversight? Was the U.S. government aware of this practice, and if so, for how long? What will the U.S. and its coalition of democracies do to hold Israel accountable for eroding global democratic norms?

That the Biden administration and Congress are unlikely to offer substantive answers to any of these questions — despite the fact that Washington has far more leverage over Israel than it does China — lends credence to the argument that being considered a threat to the “liberal rules-based order” is more about who you are than what you do.

It signals to China and others that, so long as you support Western power and primacy, you will get a pass; as long as you challenge it, you will be a threat. If so, what does China have to gain from exercising restraint, and what does it have to lose from taking aggressive actions such as hacking Microsoft?

Little to nothing. If China believes it is in a global struggle with the West simply over power and position, then it makes little sense to pass up any opportunity to gain any strategic advantage, no matter how much Western backlash it produces.

Source: Responsible Statecraft

Politicians and pundits in Washington have long warned that China is seeking to erode global democracy and “export its authoritarian model,” but the culprit behind explosive spy revelations this week appears to be America’s closest military ally in the Middle East.

A private Israeli surveillance firm has been selling spyware to several governments for use in terrorism and criminal investigations, but some have turned it on journalists, activists, business executives, and politicians, an investigation by a consortium of 17 media organizations revealed on Sunday.

Reports by The Guardian and Washington Post, among others, said that NSO Group, a private Israeli firm with links to the state, developed and sold governments licenses for hacking software called “Pegasus.” The tool is capable of penetrating smartphones, granting access to their most sensitive data, and remotely activating features such as cameras and microphones.

Investigations of a leaked data system containing 50,000 phone numbers concluded that it may have been a list of possible targets compiled by 10 countries with licenses to use the tool. Among them are several authoritarian or increasingly non-democratic countries, such as Kazakhstan, the United Arab Emirates, and Hungary, as well as others close to the U.S., including Saudi Arabia, India, and Mexico.

1,000 people spread across 50 different countries were identified as having numbers on the list. According to the Washington Post, among them are “several Arab royal family members, at least 65 business executives, 85 human rights activists, 189 journalists, and more than 600 politicians and government officials.” This includes Robert Malley, the Biden administration’s lead Iran negotiator, and journalists for CNN, the Associated Press, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times.

Forensic analysis of 67 implicated phones found that 37 showed traces of attempted or successful penetration; results for the remaining 30 were “inconclusive,” but did not definitively rule out an attempted hack. “After the investigation began,” the Post reported, “several reporters in the consortium learned that they or their family members had been successfully attacked with Pegasus spyware.”

Timothy Summers, a former cybersecurity engineer in the U.S. intelligence community quoted by the Post, described Pegasus as an “eloquently nasty” tool that could be used to “spy on almost the entire world population.”

The tool was developed by Israeli ex-cyberspies a decade ago, and has been in use since at least 2016. NSO counts 60 intelligence, military and law enforcement agencies across 40 countries as customers, and the Post characterizes the organization as a “worldwide leader in the growing and largely unregulated private spyware industry.”

For its part, NSO disputed the investigation’s findings. It claims that licensing contracts stipulate Pegasus is only to be used for terrorism and criminal investigations, and that it conducts a rigorous vetting process into potential customers’ human rights records. It denied that the leaked data constituted a list of targets, and said that it has terminated contracts with five governments over concerns about potential abuses.

The Israeli Ministry of Defense closely regulates NSO and individually signs off on new export licenses for its surveillance technology – making it likely that the program was well-known if not endorsed at the highest levels of the Israeli government.

Less than 24 hours after this bombshell dropped, the United States joined the European Union, NATO, Japan and its “Five Eyes” allies in a Monday morning media blitz accusing China of orchestrating a global cyber hacking campaign, including a large attack on Microsoft first disclosed in March.

Although U.S. intelligence agencies likely target China in cyberspace for non-commercial reasons, there is no doubt that China is a highly aggressive actor with a long history of targeting companies, universities and government agencies; it is also a leading exporter of some high-tech surveillance equipment, although the U.S. and other democracies are not far behind.

There is also no doubt that if a Chinese firm were found selling spyware to potentially dozens of governments, some of whom then used it to target activists and journalists, it would be held up as a leading example of how China is “exporting its authoritarian model” or “exporting its ideology,” adding fuel to the Biden administration’s fire that it is leading a great global struggle between democracies and autocracies to win the 21st century.

What ideology is one of America’s closest military and political partners exporting when it sells Pegasus to rights-abusing regimes with limited oversight? Was the U.S. government aware of this practice, and if so, for how long? What will the U.S. and its coalition of democracies do to hold Israel accountable for eroding global democratic norms?

That the Biden administration and Congress are unlikely to offer substantive answers to any of these questions — despite the fact that Washington has far more leverage over Israel than it does China — lends credence to the argument that being considered a threat to the “liberal rules-based order” is more about who you are than what you do.

It signals to China and others that, so long as you support Western power and primacy, you will get a pass; as long as you challenge it, you will be a threat. If so, what does China have to gain from exercising restraint, and what does it have to lose from taking aggressive actions such as hacking Microsoft?

Little to nothing. If China believes it is in a global struggle with the West simply over power and position, then it makes little sense to pass up any opportunity to gain any strategic advantage, no matter how much Western backlash it produces.

Source: Responsible Statecraft

South China Morning Post - Thu Jul 22, 2021 10:36

Britain on Tuesday said it would permanently deploy two warships in Asian waters after its Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier and escort ships sail to Japan in September through seas where China is vying for influence with the United States and Japan.

Plans for the high-profile visit by the carrier strike group come as London deepens security ties with Tokyo, which has expressed growing alarm in recent months over China’s territorial ambitions in the region, including Taiwan.

“Following on from the strike group’s inaugural deployment, the United Kingdom will permanently assign two ships in the region from later this year,” defence minister Ben Wallace said in a joint announcement in Tokyo with his Japanese counterpart Nobuo Kishi.

After their arrival in Japan, Kishi said, the Queen Elizabeth and its escort ships would split up for separate port calls to US and Japanese naval bases along the Japanese archipelago.

In a statement on the deployment, a Pentagon spokesperson congratulated Britain for its “commitment to an interconnected network of allies and partners, who mutually cooperate and support freedom of navigation and a rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific region”.

A close US ally, Japan hosts the biggest concentration of US military forces outside the US, including ships, aircraft and thousands of Marines.

The British carrier, which is carrying F-35B stealth jets on its maiden voyage, will dock at Yokosuka, the home of Japan’s fleet command and the USS Ronald Reagan, the only forward deployed US aircraft carrier.

The British ships will not have a permanent base, a spokesperson at the British Embassy in Tokyo said when asked which ports the Royal Navy ships would operate from.

The Queen Elizabeth is being escorted by two destroyers, two frigates, two support vessels and ships from the US and the Netherlands.

It will come to Japan through the South China Sea, parts of which are claimed by China and Southeast Asian countries, with stops in India, Singapore and South Korea.

In a further sign of Britain’s growing regional engagement, Wallace, who travelled to Japan with a delegation of military commanders, said the UK would also eventually deploy a Littoral Response Group, a unit of marines trained to undertake missions including evacuations and anti-terrorism operations.

Source: South China Morning Post

Britain on Tuesday said it would permanently deploy two warships in Asian waters after its Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier and escort ships sail to Japan in September through seas where China is vying for influence with the United States and Japan.

Plans for the high-profile visit by the carrier strike group come as London deepens security ties with Tokyo, which has expressed growing alarm in recent months over China’s territorial ambitions in the region, including Taiwan.

“Following on from the strike group’s inaugural deployment, the United Kingdom will permanently assign two ships in the region from later this year,” defence minister Ben Wallace said in a joint announcement in Tokyo with his Japanese counterpart Nobuo Kishi.

After their arrival in Japan, Kishi said, the Queen Elizabeth and its escort ships would split up for separate port calls to US and Japanese naval bases along the Japanese archipelago.

In a statement on the deployment, a Pentagon spokesperson congratulated Britain for its “commitment to an interconnected network of allies and partners, who mutually cooperate and support freedom of navigation and a rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific region”.

A close US ally, Japan hosts the biggest concentration of US military forces outside the US, including ships, aircraft and thousands of Marines.

The British carrier, which is carrying F-35B stealth jets on its maiden voyage, will dock at Yokosuka, the home of Japan’s fleet command and the USS Ronald Reagan, the only forward deployed US aircraft carrier.

The British ships will not have a permanent base, a spokesperson at the British Embassy in Tokyo said when asked which ports the Royal Navy ships would operate from.

The Queen Elizabeth is being escorted by two destroyers, two frigates, two support vessels and ships from the US and the Netherlands.

It will come to Japan through the South China Sea, parts of which are claimed by China and Southeast Asian countries, with stops in India, Singapore and South Korea.

In a further sign of Britain’s growing regional engagement, Wallace, who travelled to Japan with a delegation of military commanders, said the UK would also eventually deploy a Littoral Response Group, a unit of marines trained to undertake missions including evacuations and anti-terrorism operations.

Source: South China Morning Post

Jeremy Loffredo - Thu Jul 22, 2021 09:36

Editor's note: This is an excerpt from a story that we ran at the time but that bears repeating.


On May 15, President Trump appointed Moncef Slaoui,  a board member of Moderna who until May 19 held more than $10.3 million in Moderna stock, as chief scientist of the nation’s effort to find a Covid-19 vaccine.

Slaoui, who calls himself a “venture capitalist,” is also on the board of directors at the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), a “public-private partnership” organization that has received more than $359 million from the Gates Foundation.

Slaoui also held leadership positions at GSK. While heading the company’s Research and Development, GSK pleaded guilty and paid $3 billion in what the U.S. Justice Department referred to as the “largest healthcare fraud settlement in U.S. history.” The fraud included the coverup of the link between the drug Paxil and suicidal and depressive side effects (predominantly in children), the coverup of the link between the drug Avandia and heart attacks, which the FDA estimated lead to 83,000 excess heart attacks, as well several bribery and illegal kickback schemes.

While he was GSK’s chairman of vaccines, Slaoui oversaw the development of the swine flu vaccine named Pandemrix, which was rushed to market without proper testing during the swine flu outbreak. The result was an unsafe shot that left at least 800 people with brain damage, 80 percent of them children. Since GSK only agreed to give governments the vaccine on the condition that it be indemnified from liability, U.K. taxpayer money was used to pay millions of pounds in compensation to the victims.

Slaoui was hired to be the Trump administration’s “vaccine czar” as a private contractor, not a government employee. This means, as Public Citizen explained, that Slaoui can “maintain an extensive web of conflicting financial interests without the need to divest of, recuse from, or disclose those conflicting interests.”

The corporate media likes to paint the Covid-19 response as a tug of war between anti-science blowhards like Donald Trump and “champions of science” like Bill Gates. However, Slaoui’s appointment to co-direct “Operation Warp Speed” indicates that, here, the Trump administration and the Gates Foundation are on the same team.

After entering his new Trump administration role, Slaoui declared that Moderna’s clinical trial data made him confident “we will be able to deliver a few hundred million doses of vaccine by the end of 2020.”

Source: The Grayzone

Editor's note: This is an excerpt from a story that we ran at the time but that bears repeating.


On May 15, President Trump appointed Moncef Slaoui,  a board member of Moderna who until May 19 held more than $10.3 million in Moderna stock, as chief scientist of the nation’s effort to find a Covid-19 vaccine.

Slaoui, who calls himself a “venture capitalist,” is also on the board of directors at the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), a “public-private partnership” organization that has received more than $359 million from the Gates Foundation.

Slaoui also held leadership positions at GSK. While heading the company’s Research and Development, GSK pleaded guilty and paid $3 billion in what the U.S. Justice Department referred to as the “largest healthcare fraud settlement in U.S. history.” The fraud included the coverup of the link between the drug Paxil and suicidal and depressive side effects (predominantly in children), the coverup of the link between the drug Avandia and heart attacks, which the FDA estimated lead to 83,000 excess heart attacks, as well several bribery and illegal kickback schemes.

While he was GSK’s chairman of vaccines, Slaoui oversaw the development of the swine flu vaccine named Pandemrix, which was rushed to market without proper testing during the swine flu outbreak. The result was an unsafe shot that left at least 800 people with brain damage, 80 percent of them children. Since GSK only agreed to give governments the vaccine on the condition that it be indemnified from liability, U.K. taxpayer money was used to pay millions of pounds in compensation to the victims.

Slaoui was hired to be the Trump administration’s “vaccine czar” as a private contractor, not a government employee. This means, as Public Citizen explained, that Slaoui can “maintain an extensive web of conflicting financial interests without the need to divest of, recuse from, or disclose those conflicting interests.”

The corporate media likes to paint the Covid-19 response as a tug of war between anti-science blowhards like Donald Trump and “champions of science” like Bill Gates. However, Slaoui’s appointment to co-direct “Operation Warp Speed” indicates that, here, the Trump administration and the Gates Foundation are on the same team.

After entering his new Trump administration role, Slaoui declared that Moderna’s clinical trial data made him confident “we will be able to deliver a few hundred million doses of vaccine by the end of 2020.”

Source: The Grayzone

Anti-Empire >>

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